Boeing is pitching in to strengthen Embraer’s bid in the U.S. Air Force’s protracted Light Air Support (LAS) competition by lending its weapons integration expertise, addressing a perceived weakness of Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano offering.

The U.S. manufacturer will work on integration and testing of its Joint Direct Attack Munition and Small-Diameter Bomb onto the Super Tucano. U.S. weapons have never been integrated onto the aircraft before.

The two companies recently embarked on a collaboration on Embraer’s KC-390 program, including technical cooperation and a market assessment of future global medium-lift requirements, says Dennis Muilenburg, president of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

The technical work will start immediately on the Super Tucano project, Muilenburg says, noting this is a capability in which he has a “high confidence” of success. Boeing will develop the interfaces and conduct separation testing of the weapons.

Sierra Nevada will remain the prime contractor for Embraer’s LAS bid. The two companies originally won the $355 million contract only to have it revoked owing to a procurement protest from rival Hawker Beechcraft, which is offering the AT-6. The Air Force was unable to produce the proper documentation to validate its source selection, forcing another duel.

For Boeing, the Super Tucano deal offers the company — which is proposing its F/A-18E/F to Brazil for its fighter requirement — a link into the local industry. “We are investing in Brazil in a big way,” Muilenburg says. Boeing’s F/A-18E/F remains engaged in a protracted competition against the Rafale and Gripen fighters for Brazil’s military. The Super Hornet is thought to be out of favor due to the U.S. Air Force’s mishandling of LAS. The service hoped to buy 20 of the aircraft for fielding in Afghanistan in 2014.